Innovation and Tradition from Switzerland

Birchmeier looks back on a 140-year-old success story

In 2016, Birchmeier Sprühtechnik AG will celebrate its 140th anniversary. As one of the world's leading manufacturers of spraying, foaming and dispensing devices, the Swiss company's products are synonymous with functionality, robustness and reliability. The company history shows just how innovative the "hidden champion" has been since the invention of the world's first backpack sprayer.
The world's first backpack sprayer. Invented and developed by J.B. Birchmeier around 1890

140 years and still going strong. Indeed, there's no end to the Swiss manufacturer's innovations. The wide range of products include anything from small hand sprayers to backpack or cart sprayers and is used in over 40 countries around the globe in houses and gardens, agriculture, trades and industry.

The company and its products are synonymous not only with functionality, robustness and reliability but also with service and innovation. "Deliberately developing our core competencies is the basis for the reliability and quality of our products and thus for our success on the market", said Jürg Zwahlen, the company's owner.

The durability of products also plays a key role for the company. After all, Birchmeier devices are not throw-away or disposable products. The company provides a spare parts service with guaranteed availability of spare parts for at least 10 years after a product is discontinued.

And Birchmeier is synonymous with genuine Swiss quality – when it says "Made in Switzerland" on the outside, this means genuine Swiss quality inside. Employees develop and produce products at the factory in Stetten, backed up by a network of mainly Swiss suppliers.

The success story

In 1876, what is now Birchmeier Sprühtechnik AG was established under the name Trost & Cie in Künten in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland. At the time, the company produced lamps and metal goods.

It only began producing sprayers some years later after Johann Babtist Birchmeier, an accountant and silent partner in the manufacturing operation since 1889, heard about the problems that wine growers were facing owing to phylloxera. Accidentally brought in from North America, the pest was destroying entire winegrowing areas in Europe. For Birchmeier, the problem became an obsession which prompted him to develop an ingenious invention – the world's first backpack sprayer – in 1889. A number of years later, he took over the company and renamed it "Birchmeier & Cie".

Prior to this groundbreaking invention, spraying agents had been applied – with limited effectiveness – using a bucket and brush. The world's first backpack sprayer which can be seen in the Historical Museum in Aarau, Switzerland used a wooden vat as a container. However, the internal pump soon proved to be a problem, and so the second generation with an external pump was launched soon after.

The third generation which was launched around the turn of the century is still fully preserved and in the company's possession. 

At the time, the company received awards at exhibitions from Berlin to Paris – and it has continued to develop genuine innovations in the decades that followed.

• 1929: First motorised sprayer
• 1937: First horse-drawn spray boom
• 1949: First backpack mist blower
• 1966: First sintered ruby fan nozzles – a new technological development
• 1972: Replacement of metal containers with blow moulded plastic

Even if there have been constant further developments in terms of construction and materials since then, the principle of the external pump remains the same to this day and is still used by the manufacturer even in the very latest products. 

Innovation as a driving force

Birchmeier's history has made the company what it is today. Over the last four decades, the company has developed numerous innovations geared to the practical needs of users. The wide range of products is aimed at a variety of private and professional applications, e.g. plant care in gardens and agriculture, or cleaning and disinfecting in households, trades and industry. The products are complemented by accessories and auxiliary equipment which allow users to work efficiently and safely.

Not standing still is an important part of the company's basic principle. This includes offering new customer benefits in order to remain attractive and always striving to improve on existing structures and achievements. The company's latest products including the electronically controlled REC 15 backpack sprayer and the latest generation of the RPD 15 hand-operated backpack sprayers are proof of this.